Valve’s digital distribution platform Steam will soon be launching a limited beta of a new feature that will permit “close friends and family members to play one another’s games while earning their own Steam achievements and saving their own game progress to the Steam cloud.” Called Family Sharing, the new addition will allow up to ten friends or family members to make use of a single gaming library.
The idea behind it is fairly simple, a user can authorise another user’s PC and allow them to share their gaming library. This isn’t without limits however, only one authorised user can make use of a game at a time and there are some game which won’t be shareable. The latter restriction seems to be dependent on third parties.
The trail for Family Sharing is expected to go live later this month, though it will be limited to 1,000 accounts at first. There’s no indication as to when it will become more widespread.
As Ars Technica points out, the Family Sharing feature seems to have been cribbed from a feature that Microsoft announced for the Xbox One. Microsoft has scrapped plans for sharing function on the console, doing away with them when other DRM-like restrictions were killed on the console. Microsoft has since been talking about returning something along the lines of Steam’s Family Sharing feature to their objectives, allowing users to share digitally purchased games.